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Comment Re:Not all of them (Score 1) 51

I'm the kind of person that doesn't replace something that works. I kept my first cell phone for years, I finally decided I needed a new one when the battery life barely lasted the day and the antenna was falling off. I happened to be near a Radio Shack that had a big sign in the window advertising a cell phone sale so I went in. In the process of setting up my phone the carrier, Sprint, gave me a new phone for free and $50 on top. The cashier said he'd never seen anything like that before. I found out later that the reason Sprint did this was to comply with some new FCC regulations on cell phone frequency use and cell phones giving more accurate location data when calling 911.

I mentioned that incident with my old cell phone so that I can ask this, what does the FCC think of old cell phone technology in devices other than cell phones? If Sprint felt so motivated to buy me a new phone and pay me to get it then certainly there is some incentive to upgrade these old cars to meet current standards on radio spectrum use. Is it possible to update these vehicles? Will the dealers do this for free?

Comment Re:FCC can't help ... (Score 4, Interesting) 205

Even if I could listen to FM radio, why would I? Honestly, I don't even use the radio in my car anymore. It's been ten years or more since I listened to the radio.

I've started to ask myself the same thing but perhaps for a different reason than you. I had a couple radios die on me recently which made me think about my listening habits as I shopped for replacements.

When I listen to the radio it's usually for news, weather, and traffic. These things I normally find on AM. There's a couple AM new/talk stations I flip between, one of which simulcasts on FM which is sometimes clearer than the AM cast. When there is bad weather I'll listen to the NOAA weather band broadcasts, the local storm watchers that chat on the amateur radio band, or the same news/talk stations I'd listen to normally. There is a local traffic station that broadcasts on low power AM, which is nice if I see traffic moving slow or the road condition is bad.

It's rare for me to listen to music on the radio, I have a large collection of music on my iPod (which is normally left hooked up to the stereo in my truck) and iPhone, and I can stream music over the internet from my iPhone or computer. Trying to listen to music on FM is typically quite annoying with the advertisements that are often louder than the typical music, which is a turn off. As in, I'll turn off the radio than listen to that crap. The point of listening to music is to gain enjoyment, which is destroyed with blaring adverts and/or blithering idiots for DJs.

I do listen to radio broadcasts, just not typically those on the FM band.

Comment Re:Could be worse (Score 5, Funny) 626

A friend of mine was on his way to one of those "fun" places in SE Asia. The TSA agent insisted on the soldiers, in full uniform, put their rifles through the X-ray machine. He, a Speicialist, began to protest but was quickly quieted by a senior officer. I guess the man in charge thought is was just easier to fulfill the idiotic request than voice any protest.

Just what did this TSA flunky think they could find "hidden" inside these rifles? Might someone sneak a fingernail clipper inside? I'm not absolutely certain but I'm quite sure they had bayonets in their packs.

Comment I'll believe in CAGW when the powers that be do so (Score 0) 237

If global warming is real, caused by human activity, and catastrophic for human life then I'd expect the powers that be to act very much differently than they are. Since they don't seem to be acting in a way consistent with being convinced of the dangers of fossil combustion then I feel no need to do so either. Here's a few things I'd like to see from the US Federal government to convince me that CAGW is a real and actual threat.

Lets start with the big consumer of fuel in the federal government, the military. The US Navy wants nuclear powered ships to replace their oil fired ships, they should give them to them. Carriers and subs are already nuclear powered but so should every "mini-carrier", those helicopter landing ships, amphibious attack ships, and other ships that carry helicopters, amphibious landing craft, and command and control ships of similar size and design. The US Coast Guard is in need of some new ice breakers to enable the US Navy and cargo ships to navigate the Northern seas. Last I heard they wanted six ice breakers, two heavy, two medium, and two more of a light, heavy, or medium capacity. As they service Antarctic stations these ships would preferably be as large as possible, carry as much cargo as possible, be as speedy as possible, and be able to travel in tropical waters. Russia has nuclear powered ice breakers but they are stuck in the Arctic due to the risk of over heating when traveling near the equator, the cooling systems need near freezing waters to keep the reactors cool.

The US Navy has been developing a technology that can extract CO2 and hydrogen from seawater and turn that into fuel suitable for their helicopters, jets, and smaller seacraft. This uses nuclear power to drive the process and therefore creates a carbon free hydrocarbon based fuel. If this works for the Navy then it will work for the other uniformed services too.

This also removes much of the incentive to obtain fuel from war torn nations, further removing the need to send troops to far off places.

Then we can move on to non-military consumers of fossil fuels.

One big way we have seen the USA reduce it's carbon output is in the falling price of natural gas. Natural gas produces half the CO2 output per kWh of electricity than that produced by coal. Not an ideal solution but something that requires no government spending and creates a large gain in solving the problem. The federal government could throw open the doors on natural gas exploration, further lowering the price of natural gas and no one would burn coal, simply because NG is cheaper. If it gets cheap enough long enough then we can see gains in conversions of planes, trains, and automobiles to replace petroleum oil.

If this US Navy technology of seawater to jet fuel can be used commercially then there is another avenue to free us from drilling for fossil fuels.

The big way that we can see CO2 emissions go down is growth in the nuclear power industry. So many claims of nuclear power being unsafe are based on old nuclear power plants that are no longer in use. We have not made nuclear reactors like Chernobyl, Fukushima, and Three Mile Island in decades. Even if we did, would not the risk of another nuclear accident pale in comparison to environmental collapse from continued fossil fuel use? Have we not learned how to deal with this nuclear waste since then? As in using waste annihilating nuclear reactors? These things will eat the nuclear waste while producing energy. They also produce life saving medicines for diagnostics and cancer treatments.

So, why hasn't the government done all of this already? Isn't the answer obvious? Because they do not believe their own fear mongering. If they did believe that burning fossil fuels would end us all then they'd do much of what I laid out.

Instead they fund "climate summits" in far away tropical resorts, fly thousands of people there, talk about how much money America needs to give to other nations to pay for they environmental damage that we supposedly did, but no real demands we stop producing the food, medicine, and such that this carbon based economy gives them. These "summits" end up with no binding agreements, a bunch of applause from a press that refuses to ask anything of substance, and everyone goes home, nothing changes, but they promise to do this again so all these government types can get another free vacation.

Comment Re:"They" don't have to understand anything (Score 1) 726

Wow, just wow. I just happened to watch The Hunger Games: Mockingjay parts 1 and 2 this last weekend and I saw what I believe to be a good example on how socialism ends up. You can even ignore the most brutal aspects of this fictional socialist world and still see a violent tyranny. You have "peacekeepers" that enforce production quotas. What happens if someone doesn't want to meet quota? Think about that. What happens if an individual doesn't want to do what you tell them to do?

What does "force them" mean to you? How far are you willing to go to force people to do your bidding? The Hunger Games series is a fictional example but it doesn't take long to find real world examples of what happens. Obama got everyone to buy health insurance by the force of the gun. If you didn't get qualifying health insurance then you were fined. If you didn't pay the fine then you risked jail. If you fled then now you are an "enemy of the state" and they will kill you.

All of this so we can have proper medical care? What kind of "care" is that? You do as you are told or "civilization" will hunt you down.

If that is your idea of civilization then I want out.

Comment Re:I'm conflicted on this (Score 1) 502
You can look at the numbers any way you want. The bottom line is that nuclear power is dangerous. Again, I'm a fan of nuclear [done right]. But I think it's irresponsible to to argue it's not dangerous.

I can link to a list of airplane accidents and call flying unsafe but that does not make it true. Try again.
Here's some help:

If solar power is "safe" then nuclear power is "safer" or "safest". Also, a large portion of those nuclear accidents in the Wikipedia article are from Soviet military reactors. That's demonstrative of how willing they are to kill their own warriors in the defense of the "fatherland" than anything inherently wrong with nuclear power. Here's a hint, don't put murderous bastards in charge of running a nuclear reactor.

Comment Re:I'm conflicted on this (Score 1) 502

That said, nuclear is dangerous, has long lead times, and is very expensive to start up. Solar has virtually no lead time, is safe, and very clean.

Prove it. You can claim nuclear power is dangerous but that does not make it true. I have access to Google like you do and when I search on the number of deaths per MWh produced nothing is as safe as nuclear power.

Solar power isn't all that clean either. If we assume CO2 is a pollutant like some try to argue then solar power loses. When it comes to poisonous chemicals in the environment we find that solar power isn't so great there either.

The lead times and expense are government imposed, not inherent to nuclear power at all. We've seen nuclear power plants built in months before, and in some pretty hard to reach places too. The US Navy builds them on about a 2 year schedule regularly, and those are safe enough for a hundreds of sailors to live in close proximity for months at a time. Since the Navy doesn't have to ask the NRC for permission to build a nuclear reactor they can get them built on time and budget regularly. If the contractors don't deliver then they'll find someone that can.

That statement just doesn't make sense to me. A kilowatt-hour is a kilowatt-hour. If we can avoid the construction of more burning power plants by using panels, that just makes sense.

The costs of power given for solar power rarely include the means to provide storage for use through the night, when that cost is included it pushes up the cost by double or triple. If the costs are added in for things like poor location (needing to run lines from where the sun shines to where the people are) then the costs can double or triple again.

Comment Bad Idea (Score 3, Insightful) 290

If this is a government imposed price control then not only is this a bad idea but one that has lead to the destruction of entire nations and killed many. Price controls enforced by the government do not allow the market to adjust pricing to meet supply and demand. Without proper market pricing we get hoarding, black markets, etc. Price controls is socialism. In socialism people wait in lines for bread, in capitalism bread is lined up waiting for people.

If a company chooses to control prices based on local markets then expect much of the same. If software is cheap in some nation where people don't make much money then expect a black market to pop up to buy low locally and then sell high somewhere else. Software makers can try to enforce this GDP based pricing with location enforcement of some kind but that's not too difficult to fake for the properly motivated.

Didn't textbook publishers already try this? They'd sell textbooks in other English speaking nations for cheaper than in the USA in order to compete better and/or comply with socialistic price controls on books. They tried putting different covers on those books but that didn't stop people in the USA from buying them, the content was still the same. Efforts to make the content different enough to matter costs money, negating any profit motive in selling the same books at different prices.

I cannot fault people for wanting to make a profit on their products. What they seem to fail to understand is that the world has gotten a lot smaller. I've gone to online retailers and orders products from Taiwan and Australia before. They arrived in my mailbox a week later. If I ordered from a domestic seller I'd sometimes get it overnight, and that has some value to me. If the price difference is large enough I'll wait that week if I can.

When talking about bread, textbooks, and so on this is a physical product. Software is not a physical product, the media might be but when is the last time you saw actual media in a software box? When was the last time you actually bought a "box" of software?

Just a bad idea. If actually implemented anywhere I'd expect it to die quickly.

Comment Re:I'm conflicted on this (Score 1) 502

I'll take that bet. In fact, I probably have - given the new administration. The price of solar continues to drop. The price of coal does not. That only ends one way.

There are more energy sources than coal and solar.

Now that the NRC has found their ball( pen)s they've started to sign off on construction/operation permits. The price of nuclear in the USA has been effectively infinite because no one could get a permit to build a power reactor. I expect the new administration to be much happier to grant permits than any in the past 40 years.

Natural gas prices seem to continue to drop. Due to the difficulty to export it by anything other than a pipeline the market is not a world wide one, so we can expect North American energy to stay low. Even though the administration is looking to grow American exports the cheap natural gas we have will not be one of those exports.

There's also wind and hydro. Solar prices might be dropping but I expect so will wind, natural gas, and nuclear. Solar can't beat them all when the sun only shines a few hours per day. Adding storage systems adds to the cost, and those storage systems work for nuclear and wind too.

Think about it. If a utility had to choose between a solar power plant that had a 30% capacity factor, and a nuclear power plant with a 90% capacity factor, which would they choose to charge up their expensive battery pack with? Solar power needs more than being the same price as nuclear, it needs to be 1/3 or even 1/10 the price to compete.

Comment Re:Wind and Solar are Environmental Disasters (Score 1) 502

You do that and solar power isn't cheaper than nuclear any more. Also, for almost any storage technology you can think of to add to solar it can be added to nuclear too. This is especially true with high temperature reactors that get as hot as any solar thermal system. Nuclear power can heat up that salt too, and do it all day and night, meaning less mass of salt needed since the reactor runs as base load all the time and the sun shines only a few hours in the day. When it comes to reactor down time the utilities figured this out already, they put three or four reactors on a single site so that for scheduled and unscheduled shutdowns there is a high probability of power staying up.

Storage doesn't make solar power look better, it makes it look worse.

Comment Re:I'm conflicted on this (Score 1) 502

Solar power is now cheaper than coal in some parts of the world. In less than a decade, itâ(TM)s likely to be the lowest-cost option almost everywhere

When or if that happens then let me know, at that point expect me to be a supporter of solar power. As it is right now, today, even the most expensive nuclear power is cheaper than solar in many places of the world. As Dr. Dewan from TransAtomic said, "If it's not cheaper than coal then why bother?" She was speaking of nuclear power but the same applies to solar. If it's not cheaper than coal then it's not worth it.

Also, what are we supposed to do until solar is cheaper than coal? I say we build nuclear power. Right now it's nuclear, coal, or it gets real dark and cold.

Solar is no more unreliable than any other power generation method. Oregon's Trojan nuclear plant was down for repairs almost as much as it operated, and was shut down and demolished after only 16 years (of a 35-year operating license) because the steam generation system was falling apart.

Sure, point out the one failure and hold that up as an example of all nuclear. I can point out a number of solar power plants that set themselves on fire too if you want to play that game. As it is right now in the USA we have about 80 nuclear power plants with better than 80% uptime, and are expected to do so for 80 years since they first went critical. Oh, and nuclear power is a lot safer too. When Homer Simpson trips and falls that's called a "nuclear accident" which is put on the front page above the fold, but when a solar power worker falls off a roof that's an "industrial accident" and might be seen in the obits. Turns out that a lot more people die from solar power accidents than in nuclear power, when compared to energy produced.

I will admit this is a problem for large scale implementations, but Elon Musk's new battery giga-factory might have something to say about that.

How long do we have to wait for that to get to a price someone other than a Tesla driver can afford? What do we do until then? Sit in the dark? I say we build nuclear power plants.

Comment Re:I'm conflicted on this (Score 1, Insightful) 502

Solar is inexpensive enough that it can be installed in many places and financed over time so that the homeowner can save money and the company financing can make money.

True only if the current government subsidies continue. Let's assume that government subsides didn't make the difference, that solar was considered inexpensive even if unsubsidized, then there is still the problem of placement. There's a lot of people that live in not so sunny areas. Rooftop solar might work in Sacramento but I doubt it will in Seattle.

If you doubt any of this, you have to ask yourself: why does Wyoming need a law that discourages solar? Why not just let the market decide?

I'm all for letting the market decide. This means ending those solar subsidies. This, at least IMHO, should mean ending residential backfeeding unless the utility actually asked for it. Laws requiring the utility to act as a battery for solar equipped homes is a subsidy in disguise.

This is the coal industry fighting for its life.

No doubt. It could also be the utilities getting fed up with having to accommodate the residential solar backfeeding to the grid. This back feeding is dangerous to line crews, a headache for demand planning, and a means to divert funds from those that can afford to buy solar power kit (the wealthy) on the backs of those that cannot (the poor).

Part of the problem here is that the utilities are rarely ever asked if they want solar power on their grid. Laws require them to buy this power even if they don't want it. Let's bring this free market, I expect solar power to lose, and badly.

Comment Re:I'm conflicted on this (Score 1, Informative) 502

Nuclear power is currently cheaper than solar thermal with storage. Cite:

The cost of PV solar is cheaper than nuclear only when built up at utility scale in high insolation areas. Not much help for a lot of the population. Running wires to places that have sun to places with people would get the power to where it is needed but this adds to the cost.

Claiming that solar is cheap when people need it most is just outright provably false. Go look at demand curves for once and you will see what I mean. Demand peaks at dusk, when there isn't enough sun left to matter. At noon power demand tends to dip a little actually, probably due to people stopping work for lunch.

Also, no civil power reactor is used to make weapons. The people building these things are bound by law to make sure that such a use is impossible. The last dual use reactor blew its lid in the 1980s, and that is only one of many reasons why all similar reactors have been dismantled long ago.

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